Students called a suicide hotline listed on their ID cards. It was sex hotline instead
Emily Lavelle and her friends were bored after school one day and decided to call the suicide prevention hotline, listed on the back of their middle school student ID cards.
What they discovered on the other end of the line was something very different.
Emily had unintentionally called a sex hotline. The phone number was listed as a resource on the student ID cards issued by New Vista Middle School in Lancaster, California.
Emily told her mother, Janene, about the discovery Monday after being picked up from an after-school program.
“First thing I did was call the number, and sure enough, it was a sex line,” Lavelle told CNN. “I was pretty shocked — it was kind of disbelief.”
Lavelle said she wanted to call the school district right away, but since it was after hours, she decided to post a picture of the back of the ID to Facebook, where it went viral.
Facebook took down the post showing the back of the card and offending number Wednesday. Lavelle said she received a message saying the post “goes against our community standard on adult sexual solicitation.”
Lavelle told CNN she has not heard personally from the school district, but the superintendent of the Lancaster School District issued a statement apologizing for the error.
“Late Monday evening we were made aware that the middle school student ID cards, which have information for emergency resources listed on the back, have the wrong phone number listed for the Suicide Hotline,” superintendent Michelle Bowers said in a statement. “We are very sorry for this error, and we are working hard to correct it. The phone numbers have two digits transposed and this is a mistake. The incorrect number listed on the card is actually a sex line.”
School administrators have collected all student IDs, and they plan to print and distribute new student IDs as soon as possible, according to Bowers.
In the meantime, Bowers told CNN, calls to the incorrect number on the ID are being routed to the suicide prevention hotline.
“Upon learning about the problem (I’m assuming because of the increased calls and inquiries), the owner of the sex line number was kind enough to have all calls on that number forwarded to the suicide prevention hotline,” she said in an email to CNN.
“In my opinion, anything the district puts out, they’re responsible for,” Lavelle said. “I don’t really expect them to do a whole lot more than apologize and fix it.”
You can call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress.